Where Risk Society Meets the Regulatory State: Exploring Variations in Risk Regulation Regimes
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- Cite this article as:
- Hood, C., Rothstein, H., Baldwin, R. et al. Risk Manag (1999) 1: 21. doi:10.1057/palgrave.rm.8240012
This paper seeks to establish a framework for comparing and understanding variation in state risk regulation regimes that moves forward from overgeneralised discussions of the nature of ‘risk society’ or the ‘regulatory state’ and micro-level debates over policy-settings for particular risks. Conceiving of risk regulation regimes as bundles of ‘director’, ‘detector’, and ‘effector’ activities by state and other institutions, the paper compares current UK risk regulation regimes for domestic radon, dangerous dogs and pesticide contamination of food and water. The paper describes the different forms of, and varying stresses on, director, detector and effector activities across the three cases. It concludes by reflecting on the value of an RRR approach in analysing the state's approach to risk management. In particular, it takes a conventional ‘market-failure’ approach as a ‘null hypothesis’ and discusses how far that approach explains variation in RRR profiles among the three cases, and how much remains to be explained by other approaches.